Innovation and Loss Prevention
Helping to protect the profits of retail organizations is a complicated proposition. Not only does inventory shortage (shrink) need to be controlled, but employees need to be kept safe and uninjured. The complexities of the job are all due to people. Loss Prevention (LP) Professionals can help craft policies to reduce shrink, but if the employees don’t adhere to the policies, shrink climbs. The same holds true for safety programs. An LP executive for a supermarket chain can launch a safety program that requires deli employees to wear cut-resistant gloves when slicing bread, but if the employee decides to work without using the protective equipment, injuries will not be prevented.
When trying to prevent shoplifting, the same principles hold true. For example, some retailers utilize door greeters with EAS systems to deter shoplifters. However, if the door greeter fails to approach potential shoplifters when the EAS alarm is activated, then the shoplifters will simply continue to wreak havoc on the retailer.
For these reasons, LP professionals must rely on innovative programs and solutions to ensure their objectives are met without the risk of employee performance issues. However, this requires innovative tools, and innovative tools sometimes require capital.
Here are the Top 5 ways LP professionals can stay innovative:
5. Attend Professional Conferences: To a less experienced LP professional, the connection between attending Loss Prevention/Asset Protection conferences and being innovative may not be obvious. The truth is, it is at these conferences that LP professionals can learn about the most current innovative solutions available to them. Exhibit halls are filled with professionals who not only demonstrate their solutions but are also eager to learn about specific challenges a retailer might be facing. They then roll up their sleeves to help create a solution. The value of attending conferences should not be underestimated.
4. Network: Attending professional conferences is also a great way to network with like-minded professionals who are facing (or previously faced) the same retail challenges. The LP industry has proven to be more like a community. Nearly every LP executive is always willing to share their experiences with other professionals. Taking advantage of this resource is paramount to staying innovative.
3. Participate in the Industry: The importance of getting involved in the LP industry cannot be undersold. Not only does it help to build strong, long-lasting relationships with solutions providers and other LP professionals, but it helps to glean information that tends to be essential for building a world-class LP program. Participation not only includes volunteering for special committees. It also entails participating in LP-related surveys, such as the annual National Retail Security Survey published by the National Retail Federation (NRF). This is one of the most comprehensive surveys the industry offers, and it provides insight into what other retailers are doing to be innovative and successful.
2. Interview the Culprits: Interviewing professional shoplifters is nothing new. LP professionals have been doing it for years, and it still is a great way to learn which parts of your LP program are not working. However, it is equally important to interview dishonest employees for more than just a confession. After the basic interview with a dishonest employee concludes, some of the most successful LP professionals begin asking a series of questions not only about why the employee chose to be dishonest but, more importantly, why they thought they would not get caught. Finding the answer to this question will reveal gaps in either the LP program, or the level of knowledge the employees have regarding LP tools, programs, and initiatives.
1. Gathering the complete ROI: Once an LP professional identifies which innovative solutions they’d like to implement, they must then request capital to fund the initiative. This can be quite tricky. In a recent blog published by Gatekeeper Systems entitled, Know Thy Numbers, the author clearly spelled out the importance of uncovering the hidden benefits that can be obtained from many solutions for which LP executives attempt to get capital funding. Reading this will better prepare LP executives to obtain the capital needed to not only stay innovative, but relevant to their organization.
Let the Innovation Begin
By implementing each of these Top 5 ways LP professionals Stay Innovative, even the most inexperienced LP professionals will soon find themselves climbing the ladder of success. Staying engaged in all the LP industry has to offer will develop the skills needed to lead a top-notch LP team for a world-class organization.
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